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The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Has Most Critics Picking Their Jaws Up Off The Floor

Ah, to return to the lands of Middle-earth. Filled with fantasy, magical jewelry that inspires obsession, and reoccurring prophecies of doom involving shadows that grow in the dark, the world crafted by the verbose J.R.R. Tolkien is robust and filled with tremendous amounts of backstory, history, and detail. As such, Amazon has figured the mythos surrounding the franchise is absolutely perfect for a prequel series that explores the events that would go on to shape the narratives of both "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit." 

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is set to release its first two highly-anticipated episodes on September 2, 2022, and it will predominately follow a young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) as she establishes her legend and fights against the growing forces of Mordor. But she is just one player in this massive game, and in the lead-up to the show's launch, viewers have been teased with all manner of fascinating narratives, characters, and worldbuilding. 

Now that the review embargo has lifted, critics have had a chance to express their thoughts regarding "The Rings of Power." So, do we have an epic adventure ahead of us or a dud that deserves to be cast into the fire?

Reviewers have found a lot to love about The Rings of Power

In her review of "The Rings of Power," Therese Lacson of Collider gave the series an A- rating, writing, "Ultimately, though, 'The Rings of Power' does a good job of keeping you apprised of the rising evil to come and feels as if it is moving toward assembling a potential Fellowship all its own, with Galadriel at the lead." She added, "While there's still a whole season to watch, 'The Rings of Power' is off to a successful start in delivering on its promise of quality and firing on all cylinders."

Other publications felt the same, with TVLine's Dave Nemetz also extolling the virtues of this upcoming series. Despite not being overly familiar with the source material, Nemetz commended the show for finding ways to help viewers feel connected to the immense breadth of characters, stories, and locations on display. He also praised the production values of "The Rings of Power," noting that it has a cinematic quality. Nemetz finished his review by saying, "'Rings of Power' just feels epic. It manages to tap into an elemental power that transcends plot and character and whisks us away to a world filled with wonder."

And David Opie of Digital Spy swooped in to assuage the fears of "The Lord of the Rings" fans who might have worried that the transition to the small screen would cause the franchise to lose its luster. "Adjectives like 'bold' and 'ambitious' are par for the course when it comes to this franchise, and they absolutely apply to what we've seen so far of the show," he wrote. "Two episodes in, the world-building is just as stunning and intricate as you could hope for."

Reviewers have commented on the movie-style production budget and pacing of the show

Those were far from the only critics who have found themselves fancying Amazon's take on Middle-earth. James Whitbrook of Gizmodo said "The Rings of Power" is chock full of hope, and looks absolutely fantastic. He added, "Prime Video's new prequel series, 'The Rings of Power,' has managed to achieve the impossible in rekindling the feeling of seeing those lavish first steps into Middle-earth two decades ago and, with the almighty power of Amazon's Jeff Bezos, spent the budget to make such a thing happen with the most expensive television show in history (so far), dying gasps of the streaming wars be damned."

The Verge's Charles Pulliam-Moore also had plenty of kind words for "The Rings of Power." He notes that the show takes its time to establish not only the characters, but also the growing threats that will drive the story forward. This observation seems to be a reoccurring trend among reviews for "The Rings of Power," but many have also pointed out that the "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies also took the time to set the proper groundwork for their stories. Pulliam-Moore added, "Regardless of whether it's streaming or airing on traditional networks, it's rare that a series lives up to its studio's dreams of it simultaneously feeling like a bingeable TV show and like a big, expensive cinematic event."

For Geeks of Color, Elijah Montoya wrote a rave review that praised not only the grand scale and scope, but also smaller elements, such as Morfydd Clark's commanding performance as Galadriel. Ultimately, according to Montoya, "The Rings of Power just flat-out works. From its sweeping vistas to its pitch-perfect visual design and costumes, every frame oozes Tolkien."

Some reviewers think the show takes a little bit of time to get going

Alex Stedman of IGN also offered up a positive review, but she did have some criticisms. Stedman noted that the second episode is more successful than the first, as Episode 1 takes its time to set up the characters and their respective journeys. She added, "While the first episode gets a little too caught up in exposition, the second is able to build on the characters and their relationships much more naturally, setting in motion a few intriguing subplots and a respectable amount of action. Through it all, it's always well-acted by its ensemble cast and gorgeously shot and produced, with cinematography, effects, costumes, and original music that rival the biggest of big-budget movies."

Despite the abundance of praise the series has received, not all reviewers believe "The Rings of Power" to be the next big thing. Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly offered a contrarian view on the upcoming show by saying, "There are ways to do a prequel, and 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' does them all wrong. It takes six or seven things everyone remembers from the famous movie trilogy, adds a water tank, makes nobody fun, teases mysteries that aren't mysteries, and sends the best character on a pointless detour." The review then gives the series a C- rating, and laments the wasted potential.

While there are certainly some reviewers who have found the pacing to be a bit too deliberate or the massive scope to be unruly, the overall impression from critics is that "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is an awesome spectacle that should please fans of the franchise new and old.